Reimagining Cross-Border Payments: How SWIFT’s New Platform Changes Everything

Over the past decade, cross-border payment expectations have shifted. In today’s world, opaque payments with uncertain processing times, fees and status are no longer acceptable to users accustomed to a digital, always-on and certain experience. Reflecting these changing expectations, and against the backdrop of the G20’s prioritization of cross-border payments, in October 2020 the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published its Enhancing Cross-border Payments Roadmap . 1 The Roadmap’s aim is to “make payments faster, cheaper, more transparent and inclusive.” The FSB believes that creating a vastly improved cross-border payments system, while retaining the safety and soundness of existing systems, would have a widespread positive impact in “supporting economic growth, international trade, global development and financial inclusion.” In its Roadmap, the FSB highlights some of the main challenges in the current cross-border payments ecosystem including cost, speed, transparency and access. These challenges are well-known and long-standing issues. While there have been a significant acceleration in efforts to address them through initiatives like SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi), which has brought meaningful transparency enhancements, the changes to date have been focused on tactical and incremental advances of the current model rather than a wholesale re-architecting of the model itself. 1 Reimagining Cross-Border Payments: How SWIFT’s New Platform Changes Everything Treasury and Trade Solutions SWIFT’s new platform, based on API connectivity, a vastly improved data model and a game changing payment orchestration service will transform cross-border payments.